Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Melon anyone?

It's common in this part of France for small farmers to increase the size of their farm by reaching an agreement with someone, who owns, maybe just one or two fields locally, to use their piece of land.   Usually, on it's own the land is not viable for farming, but by being rolled into a slightly larger operation it becomes useful.

We have just such an arrangement with a local farmer for one of our fields.   The farmer in melons question, who is in his mid eighties, uses the field for "kitchen garden" crops, growing quite an assortment of things....  He is often to be seen out in the heat of the day, working away with his hoe, shunning the more aggressive use of tractors and their paraphernalia...

One crop he has grown every year since we arrived here is melons...the small Charentais melon which is so delicious and juicy when eaten very fresh.   I personally think this is the very best melon to use either as dessert, or for aperitifs, when it is delicious wrapped in something like ham or smoked salmon.

Just look how inviting that deep orange coloured flesh is....

This morning, whilst I was in the middle of a long distance crisis, my door bell rang and I reluctantly put the crisis on hold whilst I answered it...  My farmer, who speaks a local dialect of French which I find very difficult to understand, was there, proffering a couple of these delicious melons...still warm from the field.

The familiar scent was irresistibly persistent and by lunch time all my resistance had evaporated and I cut one in half to eat, on it's own, as a starter.


chaiselongue said...

Yes, the Charentais melons are the best. You're lucky to have them growing in your field. We've had some from our own plants - which of course taste best of all! They do go particularly well with jambon cru, cured ham. Bon appetit!

Maggie said...

YUM! Those melons look so good.
Sounds like you had a great Birthday.